by Michele Nachum
Published on 25 July 2012
The Apple iPad has been revolutionary and since its debut, people have worked to make the iPad a tool for both pleasure and work. I myself have yearned to make the iPad a "secondary" laptop so when traveling I don't have to carry my bulky and heavy laptop and can use the sleek, light and beautiful design of the iPad instead.
I have yet to find a productivity solution that can provide the functionality I need to safely leave the good ol' laptop behind. That said, nowadays as technology vendors take advantage of this lucrative tablet market and create solutions for the iPad, there are more opportunities to use the iPad and leave the PC (or Mac) in the office.
Update CRM for iPad, called CRMpad, offers a comprehensive CRM solution for iPad that you can easily download on the iTunes App store and it works very well - to the point that you could in fact leave your laptop in the hotel room or in your office as you make your customer calls. Now we will take a look and see what this application has to offer.
We are in an exciting age where software developers are being challenged by the insurgence of tablets to come up with more mobile computing solutions. As such, thousands of developers are launching new apps for tablets from the iPad to the Kindle Fire providing users with more options to use the tablets for both work and pleasure. Update, an Austrian-based company that develops CRM solutions since the 1980s, has developed a CRM solution that fits beautifully on the iPad and allows you to easily access all of your customer data from your tablet. The one caveat is that the solution is part of the CRM Update.seven suite - and to use the iPad version, you must also have an license for their CRM Update software.
That said, CRMpad is an elegant solution and one to really look at - especially if your line of business includes a sales force always on the go.
Basically any company that has a sales force or needs to manage customer data will find this application useful.
Traditionally CRM solutions have been the favs of sales and marketing teams - and this solution can help keep customer profiles, meetings, and more all in one place that is easily accessed. The solution can be tailored to your specific industry as well.
For those who do not have 3G or 4G on their iPads, Update allows you to find data on and offline so for those always on the road - no need to panic if wireless is not available as you still utilize the solution.
The interface of the solution, like the iPad is rather elegant and straightforward. It is fairly easy to navigate and fairly traditional in its features in terms of entering, tracking and analyzing customer data. Because of the relatively large 9-inch screen of the iPad, CRMpad is comfortable to navigate and really does act like a PC in a sense. Update has designed the solution to seamlessly fit in with the iPad and allows users to browse, enter in data, find data, as well as analyze customer data to a certain extent.
The ribbon is on the left side and once you choose a tab, there will be additional sub-tabs at the right. The process is simple - click on any of the features on the ribbon to get where you need to be and from there, you will see additional drop-down menus for each feature. On the iPad the main features include Accounts - which will give you a nice overview of the account and all related activity.
Additional tabs such as Persons allow you to look up customer information as well as add in customer details whether it is their contact information or a recap of your most recent meeting. There are also search features, data synching (which allows you to work on or offline and synch your work later. You can attach documents, pull analytics, ascertain customer opportunities and much more.
Here are a few features I found most useful for the CRMpad:
Visit Planning - as I mentioned previously, using the CRMpad makes the most sense for teams on the road. If you are in sales in the industry, life sciences and financial services ( they offer tailor made processes for these particular industries), and have multiple appointments you can type in the address, and both a map as well as directions will act as your own personal GPS. You can also use this function to help plan your day - for instance, as long as you have all of your information in the solution, you can map out and determine which customers are nearby so you can plan to visit more than one customer in that area. You can also utilize the iPad functionality to map out the route for you.
Customer Visits - This tool allows you to enter in data such as meeting notes and other valuable information that can be shared with your colleagues. In addition, you can attach files such as your sales presentation so you can actually use the iPad for any visual demonstrations and decks (ahhh…the deck…what we do without the deck?). What is also nice about this is if you are meeting with a customer and notice a mistake in the presentation, you can access the presentation and even make edits at the last minute.
Document Visits - Document visits allows you to write notes and draft briefing recaps right then and there rather than having to wait to get back to the office to update your managers.
Calendar - Who in sales or marketing could survive without the use of a calendar tool? The CRMpad offers a good solution whereby all of your appointments will appear not just in the calendar, but on your dashboard as well (this is common for most CRM solutions).
Update's CRMpad is a solution that works well and has a lot of good functionality for teams on the road. I will mention one aspect that caught me off-guard and that is the level of customer service was fair - not great, not horrible but passable. Now it may be because I was writing a review and not a traditional customer, but I found it a bit more difficult than usual to to access the demo account and information about pricing as they do not offer an out-of-the-box solution and have to calculate the actual price for each customer in particular.
My suggestion to the Update folks is to think about posting the pricing on their website - as many fine CRM solutions do as well as have a "try and buy" demo available for people to take a gander.
Although I am not impressed by the lack of pricing information, in terms of the solution itself - it is very good for sales teams or any team on the road servicing customers. Update has several vertical solutions for different industries - so Update will tailor the CRM program to your company and or industry. I would definitely give Update a look-see…
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 4/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 3/5